ZIFA caught offside as CAF reveals more details on COSAFA tourney disqualification

The Confederation of African Football (CAF) has revealed more details on Zimbabwe’s disqualification from the COSAFA U17 tournament after fielding over-age players.

The Young Warriors had started the campaign, playing in the competition opener against Angola last week. They drew the match 1-1 and were scheduled to play South Africa in the other Group A game before rounding-up the first round against Eswatini.

However, the team was expelled after Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) tests found that a couple of players in the squad had falsely presented their age.

Botswana, Comoros and Eswatini were also found guilty and disqualified from the tournament.

ZIFA challenged the ruling and described it as ‘surprising and questionable’ since they carried their own MRI tests before travelling to South Africa.

The association said: “This is indeed surprising and questionable since we carried out similar tests on the boys…

“All the boys that travelled for the tournament were tested at a reputable MRI centre in Harare prior to their departure, and the centre used a fairly powerful 1.5 T machine.”

But according to the latest information from CAF, the local body failed to follow crucial steps and didn’t have a CAF approved medical expert overseeing their process.

“CAF released a circular requesting all federations to do the MRI in their own countries (before departure),” CAF Medical Officer Dr Thulani Ngwenya told COSAFA.com.

“All federations could submit the request, and CAF would send an expert to that country to oversee the process.

“Some countries did exactly that, but all the countries that failed the eligibility test didn’t adhere to the circular as prescribed by CAF.”

Meanwhile, the Government, through the Ministry of Sport, has started their investigations on the issue.

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